“A century ago, Chicago was a leader in shading its neighborhoods with an urban forest. But as Chicago continues to lose trees, other cities have caught up and surpassed us.
“For a host of environmental and quality-of-life reasons, It’s time Chicago worked to regain its status as exceptional when it comes to tree-lined streets. Since 2010, due to disease and other factors, Chicago has lost an average of 10,000 more trees than it has planted every year. That’s 200 fewer trees in each of the city’s 50 wards on average each year.
“Trees benefit cities and human health in many ways. They cool areas that otherwise would be heat islands. They filter the air, helping people with respiratory problems, and absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. They soak up stormwater that otherwise results in flooding. They create habitat for wildlife, including birds that fly through on semiannual migrations. Tree-lined streets make daily life in the big city more pleasant.
“But Chicago not only is failing to replace trees, it also is cutting down perfectly good ones. The city has a bad habit of removing healthy parkway trees just because some resident puts in a request. Developers are allowed to cut down mature trees for no justifiable reason.
“It keeps getting worse instead of better,” Openlands Vice President for Community Conservation Daniella Pereira told us.
“Chicago’s official motto is ‘urbs in horto’ — City in a Garden. Let’s live up to it.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 6/21/20)
Chicago fails to live up to its motto — City in a Garden — with every tree lost; The longer the city waits to restore its magnificent tree canopy, the harder the job gets. New trees need many years to grow to maturity, Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 6/21/20